In which I listen to the rhythm of the falling rain

It's a beautiful day here, with rain coming down in sheets from a lovely silver-clouded sky.

Some cities look more beautiful in the rain. Paris, for example, or San Francisco, cities whose essential grayness turns sleek and reflective in a downpour. Santa Barbara, though, is not made for inclement weather. At the first sign of rain, people curl up into themselves, complaining that they moved from Houston or Boston or Akron to get away from bad weather. "But I shouldn't complain," they invariably sigh, shaking out their umbrellas, "we need the rain." Expressing this sort of resignation is seen, in Santa Barbara, as having a real pioneer spirit.

The buildings, which gleam white under the sunshine, fade the same nondescript color of the sky, when it's wet, their plaster facades dripping and streaking with the dust that's gathered in the dry season. Red tile roofs turn muddy brown. I like it, first of all because I like the rain. It's nice to have a respite from the relentless sun, to appreciate the soft light and the wet, glossy greenery. Second of all, I'll admit to a mild schadenfreude. Seeing Santa Barbara's minor misery in the rain is akin to watching a beautiful girl who's been a little snotty to you walk away with toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Just a momentary loss of decorum, but satisfying in its own way, to the casual observer.

Star of the day. . .Joan Didion
posted @ 6:29 a.m. on February 05, 2009 before | after


She lay awake all night,